Hot Rods Game Notes - High-A East Championship Game 5
The Hot Rods looked to capture their second title in franchise history and their first since 2018.
About Yesterday... The Hot Rods forced a game five with a 7-5 over the Grasshoppers on Monday. Greensboro scored the first run of the game, but Alika Williams and Brett Wisely drove in runs in the second to take a 2-1 lead. Jordan Qsar hit his record-setting third homer of the postseason, increasing the lead to 4-1. Greensboro tied the game in the sixth, 4-4, but the Hot Rods came charging back in the bottom half of the frame. Diego Infante, Grant Witherspoon, and Curtis Mead all had RBI hits, putting the Hot Rods back in front 7-4. The Grasshoppers added a run in the ninth, but Michael Costanzo picked up the save and forced game five Tuesday.
Postseason Home Run Leader... Jordan Qsar became the Hot Rods postseason homer leader with his third of the series on Monday. Just behind him is Grant Witherspoon, whose long ball in Sunday's loss has him tied for second all-time. He sits in second place with Moises Gomez (2018) and Trey Hair (2018), who both hit two home runs during the 2018 Midwest League Championship run.
Game Five Debut... Tuesday represents the first game five in Bowling Green postseason history. During their 2018 championship run in the Midwest League, it took the Hot Rods just four games to wrap up a title, beating the Peoria Chiefs 3-1. Throughout the franchise's history, the Hot Rods have a record of 4-6 in postseason elimination games.
First Time for Everything... Although he took the loss on Friday, Taj Bradley did something no other Bowling Green pitcher did this season. His six innings make for the longest outing by a Hot Rods pitcher this season. Not only is it the lengthiest, but it also gave him the first quality start for any Bowling Green pitcher this year.
Yesterday's Notes... Qsar is now the leader in postseason homers with three... Witherspoon is tied for second with two home runs... Williams collected his first postseason RBI... He also had his first career postseason multi-hit game... Mead had his second postseason multi-hit game... It was his first with three hits... The Hot Rods set the postseason record with their seventh home run of the series... The previous record was set with five in the 2018 postseason... The 2018 postseason was also a full playoff format, compared to the one series in 2021...
Baby Face... Michael Mercado was the newest member of the Hot Rods to make their first post-season appearance. Ian Seymour's debuted in his first postseason on Thursday, while Taj Bradley did the same on Friday. Brett Wisely, Curtis Mead, Diego Infante, Alika Williams, Pedro Martinez, and Angel Felipe all got their first taste of professional playoff action on Thursday as well.
Experience... There are eight Hot Rods who have postseason experience with Bowling Green from the 2019 team. Grant Witherspoon, Jordan Qsar, Erik Ostberg, Roberto Alvarez, Alan Strong, Zack Trageton, Michael Costanzo, and Nathan Witt were all on the roster during the 2019 Midwest League opening round against the South Bend Cubs wearing the blue and orange. Logan Driscoll, Evan Edwards, Gionti Turner, Trey Cumbie, John Doxakis, Carlos Garcia, and Evan McKendry all have experience at various levels in the playoffs.
Season Series Standouts... Grant Witherspoon had a great season against Greensboro, posting a .302 batting average with four homers over 11 games this season. He tied for the team lead in RBIs with Jordan Qsar, who also had 12. Qsar blasted five homers in the season-series while Evan Edwards had four, three of which came in Greensboro in one series. Michael Costanzo and Alan Strong each led the team with four appearances, while Costanzo owned a 1.50 ERA over 6.0 innings of work while Michael Mercado led the team with 12 strikeouts. Greensboro was led at the plate by Will Matthiessen, who posted a .381 batting average over 10 games, knocking in a team-leading 11 RBIs. Four pitchers threw in four games this season with Quinn Priester striking out 13 in his 9.0 innings.
Now Pitching: Jose Lopez... The southpaw is making his third appearance in the series and his first in the starting role. Lopez was a starter for the Low-A Charleston Riverdogs, making 22 appearances and 10 starts, before being called up to Bowling Green. He struck out 77 batters in 66.1 innings in Low-A, then recorded six strikeouts in 8.1 innings in five regular-season games with Bowling Green. His last start was on August 8 with Charleston, going four scoreless innings and striking out two in a no-decision.
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High-A East League Stories from September 28, 2021
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